Personal asylum applications
A personal application is filed with the branch office of the Federal Office or at a arrival centre. An interpreter is available for this appointment to help applicants understand their rights and duties within the asylum procedure. They furthermore receive all the important information in writing in their native language.
The personal data are recorded during the application procedure if this has not already taken place, for instance when the proof of arrival was issued. Applicants are obliged to prove their identity if they are able to do so. Documents accepted include a national passport, as well as other personal documents such as birth certificates and driving licences. The Federal Office uses physical and technical document examination to assess the original documents.
Applicants are photographed; the fingerprints are also taken of people aged over 14. These data are compared with those in the Central Register of Foreigners, as well as with those of the Federal Criminal Police Office, in order to ascertain whether the application is an initial application, a follow-up application or possibly a multiple application. It is also investigated using a Europe-wide system (EURODAC) whether another European state might be responsible for carrying out the asylum procedure (see Examination of the Dublin procedure).
The application is made in person as a rule. A written asylum application may only be filed in special cases, for instance if the individual in question is in a hospital or has not yet reached the age of maturity.
display as attention: Written applications only in exceptional cases
Residence obligation (Residenzpflicht)
Once their asylum application has been filed, applicants receive a certificate of their permission to reside (Aufenthaltsgestattung). This certificate replaces the "proof of arrival", serves as documentation vis-à-vis state agencies that they are asylum applicants, and proves that they are in Germany lawfully. Permission to reside is territorially restricted to the district (residence obligation) in which the responsible reception facility is located.
Persons with poor prospects to remain
Persons with poor prospects to remain, such as individuals from "safe countries of origin", are obliged to live in the reception facilities until the decision is taken. If their asylum application is turned down as "manifestly unfounded" or "inadmissible", this then applies until they leave the country. They are not permitted to work during this period, and they may only temporarily leave the area designated in their permission to reside if they have permission from the Federal Office.
Persons with good prospects to remain
Persons with good prospects to remain may initially only remain in the area designated in their permission to reside. They too need permission if they would like to temporarily leave this area. The residence obligation ceases to apply after three months. The residence area is then expanded to cover the entire country.
Most applicants are distributed on within the Federal Land after being accommodated in the reception facilities. The Land authorities then decide whether accommodation is to be provided in "collective accommodation" or permission is given to find an apartment. Both the public interest and that of the persons concerned are to be taken into consideration when reaching this discretionary decision. The immigration authority can provide more information.